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Failure – When you realise you were good just not good enough

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment

Would you capture it or just let it slip? ~ Lose Yourself Eminem

Are we ever prepared or let me rephrase can one be prepared enough to buffer themselves from failure? Well let me give you my biggest failure so far, the one time I hit the floor so hard I broke a bone or two, not literally though. It all started a year ago I think, I had applied for something, you know those things you just apply for and actually don’t think too much about? Yes those! There is no response from these guys so I forget about it all, then six months down the line my email lights up. I have an email dedicated for these things, on this even spam is rare because I never subscribe to anything with it and I ensure I clear it promptly and it has all items read and actioned, I know actioned is not an actual word but you get what I mean yes? This mail sort of revives hope, it excites me about the new possibilities presented, I respond the mail and for another 8 months there is no communication. Then after this long period my mail lights up again with an invite for an interview I had almost forgot about all this, but there was a sense of excitement of new possibilities ignited within.

Over five hundred people are in this first stage, I meet a guy I went to high school with and a friend I interned with few years back in this stage, as they say, all dreams are valid and have to be pursued. Eight hours later I leave feeling drained and decide to just forget about it. Guess what? Lady luck is smiling at me and two weeks later I am called for a second phase of the selection process about two hundred of us. My stomach is tight through-out the process and I mess up at some point but recover. I leave on low spirits. I meet a friend who has been through the process and over lunch (I mentioned here I never say no to free food ey) he tells me not to fret it, I keep a brave face but I am freaked out inside. Again I manage the cut off and proceed to the next stage. Now I begin taking it seriously, I start seeing possibilities, chances that the light at the end of the tunnel is the sun shining and not an oncoming train.

The number is now at about hundred, but then at this stage things get brutal after an hour of intense testing and sweaty palms, optimism levels here go down again and I decide you know what come what may you will be prepared to face… Luckily whatever came out next, I could handle, so were the 40 others. This one was an impersonal test after which we are told to be patient about thirty had progressed to the next stage. Now hopes are really high, I would check email first thing in the morning, midday and evening just in case. Then came the final lap, the one where you could see the finish line, thirty people chasing to take the top three. I summoned all my energies and gave it my best shot, but I had worthy competition, I came third runners-up and was cut out oh the presentation of a medal on that ‘ka podium’.

This is where I became haunted by the number four nightmare, number five is better when bearing a loss, but number four haunts you! You always think to yourself, “is there anything I could have done to get to that finish line a millisecond earlier?” but with time you have to embrace failure and move on. But if it is something you really wanted you still have the power to determine where you go after failure, after it all some dreams stay dreams and others come true, it all depends on your attitude yes?

Failure as a learning opportunity: Image from the internet

Here are some quotes I stumbled on as I was trying to embrace my failure

  1. Failure teaches you that you are not the smartest man in the world and that sometimes you need help. But do not let it beat you and hold you down. Let it propel you
  2. If you have not failed today, then you have not tried hard enough
  3. Overachievers, like entrepreneurs, are very hard on themselves. They grapple with failure
  4. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.~ Theodore Roosevelt
  5. If you do not act for fear of failure, how will you create anything of meaning? Akhil Nigam
  6. Failure is followed by success – I hope this rings true

I also found this article on Entrepreneur.com about embracing and learning how to manage failure by Dan Pickett quite helpful.

What has been your experience with failure and how did you deal with it? Please share.

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Clarity

 

She had been doing her group assignment; I was at a corner busy finishing on mine. Then she stood, then she stood! Good Lord she an ass! Every finance concept I had been trying to grasp for fifteen minutes got all scrambled, you know the way DSTV scrambles your signal once you are late with your subscription? That way! As she walked my eyes were following her and with every step that ass would jiggle, while my headphones must have been playing Tiesto, for one minute my mind was playing Ass like that by Eminem “I don’t believe it, it almost too good to be true, I never seen an ass like thaaat…” She was talking animatedly to her friend and that’s where I noticed a gap between her teeth, oh boy two things that draw me to women in one, she must be quite something! As I went home that day all I could think about is her, I take too long sometimes to make a move as I study my subject of attraction, it has cost me many chances like Pangla Punglu calls it “Kulala class”. But this suits my personality, being an introvert it has saved me many heartaches, as I don’t know how to deal with those, and being vulnerable; which is a requirement for any relationship is not a state I like being in.

For a while I didn’t see her until I moved to this hostel, when people were busy renting SQ’s and Bedsitters is when I was moving to a hostel! Weird, huh? I know. Guess who I see when I am having my supper? Yep you guessed right, the fine ass lady, Henry must have noticed, he did what every bro does, push you to make a move. I didn’t make it that day. One Sunday I join Henry to go to church, I am not a Catholic but sometimes spiritual nourishment doesn’t have to come from your own church ey? As we go to the Ten o’clock service at Don Bosco cathedral in Upperhill guess who we meet? This made me start accompanying Henry every other Sunday, I never saw her in all the subsequent visits, maybe God felt I was playing him and made our schedules stop coinciding, for a while I didn’t see her. She had this friend who at times would join out table, I was tempted to ask him for her number, but then again what kind of man can’t ask a lady he fancies for her number himself? Then this Sunday I am just having my lunch lazily when Henry gives me a heads up, as she is leaving I call her name and finally ask for that number. She must have been shocked, I suck at small talk, therefore this must have been shocking “Hey M, how are you? Good? Great! What’s your number? Are you free this afternoon, we go to safariwalk?” I got the number but safariwalk didn’t happen that day and she hates walking anyway. I was smitten, and after lunch I was busy humming to Just a Band’s, Hey

Hey baby nataka kukuona

sura yaako inafanya roho inapona

hey kweli ni we ni malaika

hao wengine nawaita kadhalika

Fast forward to a year later, I am in my first job and basically figuring out life on my own she is still in school we get reacquainted. Things had changed, we chat here and there, I am still smitten and I think I mentioned it and that is when I reinforced my notion; being vulnerable sucks, simple stuff would be answered rudely that I couldn’t figure out why. These are the times you just keep quiet as you try to figure it out, guys suck at discussing things like these, you recluse and figure it yourself; DIY, anyway how would such a conversation go, “hey Henry, this girl answered an honest question rudely, what could that mean?” no way, not happening. I have digressed, because the other person may see you vulnerability as a weakness and use it to demoralize you, and your situation is that of always Beggin like Madcon. At some point the fuse blew and I put a stop to everything. I wasn’t vulnerable anymore, it felt good. But not for long; have you realized the further you pull the sling on a catapult the more the tension increases making it likely to return at the un-stretched position? Unless you cut the rubber the sling will always return to its original position no matter how much you pull it. In short I was not moving on, I was mark timing like a hamster running very fast on a wheel but at the end of the day it’s back to square one. I figured this would not be fair to future flames, not being able to give them all of me like John Legend. I needed clarity; I needed to have some questions to avoid the “what ifs and what might have been”.  I ask her the nagging questions, I expected her to ignore that long-winded text but she doesn’t, we later have this long chat and it starts dawning to me, even if I wanted and like Chris Brown I tried to Kiss her, maybe I would have kissed the hand smack on my face. By the time we hang up, my infatuation, poof! Had disappeared.

I won’t be building walls this time, but God knows I am scared of being that vulnerable again. How other people do it I am yet to understand, thanks to being a very late bloomer. So it’s back to Brikicho, in finance we were taught the bigger the risk the bigger the returns, but I don’t know if the same applies to risking heart breaks and being vulnerable!!!? But know what? Am not singing that Chris Brown song again, or rather I will sing a different version:

Yes I did Kiss you

I already told you how I felt

No I won’t stop

Stopping at green light

When I know I want to be more than friends

Okay we both know I can’t sing…

 

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